Ryan Tannehill spoke to the media for the first time since the season ended, which means he was asked about a lot. Ryan answered every question, and he made it clear that he’s ready to go and try to win a Super Bowl with the Titans. He also opened up about the loss to the Bengals and said he had to seek therapy afterwards to deal with the aftermath. I feel for him as a human being, and hope he can prove a lot of detractors wrong this upcoming season.
Ryan’s presser can be found here, where I’d encourage you to listen.
Speaking of detractors, Tannehill said yesterday in his presser that “I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him” regarding Malik Willis. This of course drew an extremely rational reaction from some Titans fans and people from around the league.
What’s great about Ryan’s quote is that it’s true. It isn’t his job to mentor Malik. In fact, the Titans culture is to “not let the younger players coming in take their job”, according to General Manager Jon Robinson. So, he’s doing exactly what the front office says they should and yet he’s being vilified. Why? Because we love to nitpick. We want players to be authentic and give real answers, but when they do, they are ridiculed for it.
I saw follow up tweets from people saying, “well, I wish he would have phrased it differently”. Why? So you can nitpick those too? The question asked by Jared Stillman that led to this now infamous quote was “how do you function with Malik who ultimately, probably his goal is to try to take your job?”
I don’t know about you, but I think he handled that question pretty well. Said they’d be competing, watching film together, taking notes together. Seems pretty standard for a competition. You’re not mentoring that person, you’re trying to win your job, and Ryan is trying to keep his job for 2023 and beyond.
His actions should show you that just because he doesn’t believe it’s his job to be a mentor, he is going to be a good teammate. He called Malik up, right after he was drafted to congratulate him. That’s already far better than Hall of Fame QBs have done to their competition. I can almost guarantee that Ryan will be a good teammate, because he’s never been anything other than that.
The Tannehill discourse in general has taken a step too far. Ryan was not good against the Bengals. While that may be a vast understatement of his play, the point is, no one is excusing him for that performance. What has become extremely sad to watch are the people that have devolved into constant nitpicking and personal attacks because they’ve turned him from a human being into a caricature where they can throw all of their hatred and blame.
A prime example is from yesterday, when Tannehill spoke very openly about how much the loss to the Bengals haunted and hurt him, and some of the responses were downright disgusting (see below).
I get that people are unhappy with him for the playoff loss. However, this is a prime example of how his detractors have jumped the shark. Clutching onto anything they can use for pure hatred. Get over it. He had a sponsored tweet go out and you freaked out? Get over it. He wasn’t at the first week of voluntary workouts? Get over it. He said he didn’t think it was his job to mentor the guy coming for his job? Get over it.
Ryan Tannehill is a very good person, something the Titans have been blessed to have many of at QB through their history. Hasselbeck, Locker, Mariota, and now Tannehill all were excellent representatives of the Titans and the community.
Tannehill happens to also be arguably the best QB the Titans have ever had, so whether or not this is the last year of him, I’m going to hope like heck that he’s able to exorcise his playoff demons and get the team over the hump. Regardless, let’s not trash the man’s character because of what he does or does not do on a football field.
The Jim Wyatt Mailbag Experience was kind of cathartic to read. Some of these takes are wild, but I get it. The Titans traded away the best WR in franchise history. You’re allowed to go ahead and be irrational for a bit. I’m still not happy about it, but you move on.